One-issue Voters

As a thinking exercise, I sometimes ask whether it would be wrong to be a one-issue voter if the issue were slavery. In his debate with Lincoln, Douglas argued an essentially pro-choice position: let the southern states decide whether and when to end slavery. At the risk of sounding like an intolerant moral absolutist, I assert that pro-slavery Christians were wrong.

Perhaps I should defer more to the Supreme Court ruling (Dred Scott vs. Sanford) on who is a person and citizen. But God’s law transcends Supreme Court rulings. And yes, I know that some Christians find verses in the Bible that seem to justify the enslaving of Africans. But they are wrong. How can one even look at a slave and deny he is a person?

Perhaps I am too narrow. I would vote for an atheist before a pro-slavery Christian. I would vote for an incompetent candidate who promised to end slavery before I would vote for an intelligent and skillful pro-slavery candidate.

Perhaps I should care more about foreign policy, the economy, western expansion, and the Indian problem. Perhaps I am guilty of shoving my anti-slavery morality down the throats of others instead of letting slave owners make a private moral decision.

After all, I really don’t want to be associated with the John Brown types who wave a Bible in one hand and gun in the other.

I often wonder how history will judge me. An unbalanced and intolerant one-issue fanatic?  A courageous and compassionate defender of the helpless?

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About Mark

I live in Myrtle Point, Oregon with my wife Teckla and am the father of four boys. Currently I teach writing and literature at Southwest Oregon Community College. I am a graduate of Myrtle Point High School, Northwest Nazarene College, and have a Masters in English from Washington State University.
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